Friday, March 31, 2006


I am so excited about the approaching summer. I admit that I am not a very good Canadian in that I completely detest winter, but as spring is getting ready to get spring, I can feel myself grow restless. I tend to hibernate completely over the course of a long cold winter, but as the heat arrives, I feel the need to get OUT.

And I am so looking forward to the soon to arrive cavalcade of gorgeous shirtless men walking around the blistering streets of Montreal. One weird thing about this city is that while it is fiercely cold in the winter, it is stiflingly hot throughout the summer. Montreal is an island in a river and the valley around us causes intense humidity. But that heat will be welcome this summer.

I am especially excited about the Outgames being held here. Had a great time at the Gay Games in Sydney last time. The number of men that descend on this fair city will be utterly fascinating. I can barely wait.

And even Bud is coming out of his own hibernation with him suggesting this morning that we go out on the town tonight! And I feel like it too. He has been getting very buff over the past few months, and I think he wants to show it off. And I say, hell yes.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Puppy Love

I was walking to the gym this morning, bright and early as always, along Ste-Catherine’s street in Montreal. Now Ste-Catherine’s is one of the main streets of the city and just before the gym, there are always a number of homeless people that sleep in the doorways of some of the businesses. Over the course of the winter, they sleep there huddled together in the -30 C weather – barely surviving.

And most of these people are pretty young – in their late teens or early twenties. And most of them have dogs. And this morning, I saw something that I hadn’t seen before. Snuggled up with one of the men sleeping was his dog and her puppies. It appeared that these babies had just recently been born and all three were sucking contentedly on their mother’s teets.

And my heart broke. I wondered how these puppies were going to be able to make it. How were they going to survive with someone who was transient? What was going to happen to them? And then it hit me.

I was more concerned with these baby dogs than I was with the people they were with. I pass by them every day in the blistering cold and I have never felt the anguish that I felt for these dogs. I can also imagine some animal rights group advocating taking these puppies with more passion than anyone has shown any of these fellow people. No, wait, this isn’t about society’s reaction. I can’t use its views to minimize my own.

The fact is that I cared more about those puppies than I did about those people. And there is something inherently wrong with that, isn’t there? It says something about me, and that statement brings me no amount of pleasure at all.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

An End to Seroconversion

A report in the Montreal Gazette today noted that researchers have found that certain AIDS medication originally meant for people with HIV has been shown to block the transmission of the virus to negative people if taken prior to sex. The researchers used monkeys in their trial where they administered the two different drugs and then inserted both the monkey and human forms of HIV rectally into monkeys. None of the monkeys got HIV while all but one of the monkeys not receiving the drugs did. Worried that the drugs might only be blocking the “absorption” or detection of HIV, the researchers then waited four months after the last dose and HIV injection, and found that none of the monkeys had developed HIV either. The researchers are now looking to conduct human trials.

The report also noted that a number of people have already done their own personal trials by taking their partner’s or friend’s HIV medication. While I greatly welcome this new development, there are some implications that are undoubtedly involved in this. The first, which was noted by certain professionals, is that this would just lead to unsafe sex practices. While yes, this is true, and the prospect that a virus such as HIV or a resistant form of HIV could be passed, it would undoubtedly lead to a change in habits.

But what I find most disturbing about this development is that it is precisely in the best interests of the drug companies to have a means of controlling HIV in this way rather than a cure for those who are already inflected or a vaccine to protect those who are not. What this amounts to is a lifetime supply of funds from sexually active people. If there were a cure or a vaccine, this would be a one-stop-shop-and-pop. Have it and its over. But instead, with this method, the supply of pills will flow and flow and flow with the profits to go directly to those companies that have chosen this method.

Of course, this is a bit of a cynical point of view, but there is far less money in destroying AIDS than in managing it. And whether we like it or not, drug manufacturers are not in the business for altruistic reasons. The basis of our system is that profit drives innovation. If a company has the choice between a quick influx of cash at one moment and a steady income over years and years, what choice will they make?

But nothing would make me happier than being proved wrong on this one. I can remember, in my old single days, being very worried about getting HIV myself. I entered the gay life at a time when it was a far more deadly disease than it appears now. I have seen people I love withered from the ravages of this tiny replicating organism. I can imagine the feeling of the freedom from the shackles of worry about whether any act was too dangerous, too risky, too clumsy. The rite of passage of waiting for test results (even if I didn't believe that I had anything to worry about) is something I think people can do without.

I still hope for the day when the headline is a cure. In the meantime, I guess I should maybe take off my cynic hat and actually be thrilled that maybe no one else will have to go through the difficulties and pain that some of friends and former lovers have had to deal with and stop caring about whether someone else makes money out of it. For to be honest, one is more important than the other.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Wakey Wakey

Well, I had one of those completely wonderful weekends where I ended up doing next to nothing while poor Bud had one of the worst as his ipod has ceased to function. This cessation is a mixed blessing for him in that he can barely function without one any longer, but he certainly would love the excuse to get himself a new one (as his is one of the originals).

But back to me! Oddly enough, my body was going into total sleep recovery mode on Saturday. I woke up, as typical, at about 6 or 6:30 on Saturday morning. After lounging around for a few hours, I had a mini-nap on the couch and then decided on a big nap at around 1:30. Next thing I knew it was after 6! Of course, I thought that I would not fall asleep at all that night – but sadly I was sound asleep by 10! Yes – it is an exciting life I lead when I am asleep by 10 on a Saturday night.

But as seems to be normal for me, I am still in my winter hibernation mode. Haven’t really felt much like going out on the town at all for the past few months. I’m sure that will all change once the spring finally arrives. Most of the snow in the backyard is gone, but this has left a puddle of mud that the dogs love to get messy in. Oh, well, c’est la vie.

We pulled out the BBQ for the first time this year and cooked up some sausages. SOOOO GOOOODDD. But then I am spoiled as Bud is a great cook.

Talked to one of my best friend’s in Australia last night as well. He, also a former trashbag, has completely turned into a at home guy. Married as well. It’s a far cry from when the two of us would be out all night every weekend. But this is what happens I guess. Its strange to look at my former self with my new eyes – sometimes I see my past with disgust and sometimes with a longing for those days gone by. But likely its most often with a sense of happiness about both where I have come from and where I am.

Jesus, I guess lots of sleep makes me a chipper guy!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Altered States

Earlier today a colleague mentioned to me a lawyer on the opposing side of a file that I am working on, and he said of him, “He’s very American.” The thing that stuck with me in this remark, is that phrase is never used to describe a good quality but is only used for the negative.

And this got me to thinking about September 11th. I like many other people remember exactly what I was doing when I first turned on the television that morning and that I didn’t leave my home for the rest of the day. I was crushed by what occurred and my feeling of empathy and sympathy for a people has never been so high. A couple of weeks later near the end of September, I went to New York for the very first time.

I was there for a job interview. As I was getting ready to board a plane, an Arab man in his thirties was in the corner praying on a prayer mat just as I was getting on. And I was flooded with emotions of fear. Quite unjustified generally, but justified by the times, I guess. But I thought, “hell, if anyone is going to be thoroughly searched today, it would be him.”

As we flew into New York, the plane circled around Manhatten. As we moved around that island, the passengers almost uniformly stood up to look out the windows on the left hand side to see the smoking crater. It was no longer a television event for me with the air of unreality incumbent with all images on that box, it was a fact in my life.

After my interview I had a few hours before my flight, and being my first time in New York I wanted to check out the place. Typically in a new city, I will just walk around letting the green or red light guide my journey. This was a mistake on that day. I walked around and amidst the overwhelming number of American flags were the walls of posters of people looking for their loved ones who had died that day. And then I came across a fire station. The engine doors were open and a fireman sat on the bumper on the front of the firetruck. His legs were spread and he was hunched over with his elbows on his knees. Lining the doors were cards fro children thanking the firefighters for their work. As I walked by, he looked up and caught my eye. What I saw was a man decimated.

And I couldn’t take. I fled to the airport four hours before my plane and hid there.

And now four and a half years later, everything is changed. The sympathy and empathy have been replaced with a growing sense of disturbance. What is transpiring south f the border concerns me. The path of healing and seeking to protect oneself has transformed into the most aggressive attitude of a democratic government that I have ever witnessed. America was the victim of an aggressor, but is now changed roles. The lies that lead to the invasion and occupation of Iraq are horrendous. It has become a tale of spin.

How could this have happened? How could a country that was not long ago praised for its leadership in the world suddenly plunged itself into a situation where it is regarded as the evil empire. And what frightens me most of all is that the term is not yet even half way through.

But where are the Americans in all of this? I don't see any mass protests about what is going on. Does anyone actually care? Not enough to do anything about it. Give me lies, give me sweet little lies and I'll take what you want. You need to trample over people in the pursuit of terrorists - sounds good to me - who cares whether the people doing the stomping have any real clue if they are targeting the right people and whose to stop them from just "saying" someone is a target if they want to investigate them for something else. People are banned for writing things in personal journals, people's reading habits are scrutinized.

McCarthyism looks like a picnic compared to JuniorBushism.

And just wait, they'll elect his brother to replace him.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

"Those were the days"

I have been thinking lately a lot about a statement that came up in the movie “Contact”. In that film, a character asks the question, “Are our lives really better with all the advances in technology? Has technology made anything better?”

And I think that there is some merit in this line of questioning. There is no doubt that technology has made our lives easier, and our lives longer, but have they done anything to increase the quality of our lives? In many ways, this will undoubtedly depend on what constitutes an assessment of quality of life. And in asking that question, there is undoubtedly a personal feeling about what is the purpose behind life arises.

Are we a happier people with all of the technology around us? I am not so sure. Before television, families used to actually talk to one another, play with each other, do things. I am a great offender in staying at home to watch a movie rather than go out and take advantage of the myriad of things that this city has to offer. And I use that box as a surrogate of many things. And with all the media that we are inundated with, when is there time to reflect on our own thoughts rather than being told what to think?

The technology of transportation has also provided us with the possibility of traveling and exploring the world. But that exploration of course leads to exploitation and desecration. And it has also created a world where the excitement of travel is reduced. That which is commonplace is removed from the realm of wonder.

Technology has lead to a much smaller world, where with every instant news update, we slowly have become so involved in what is happening to the “outside” world that we neglect ourselves and the ones that we love.

This all began for me when I was considering what it must have been like a hundred years ago for people on their wedding nights. This was a moment where each person was about to see a piece of anatomy that they had quite likely never seen before. A mystery was revealed. Now, we'll all seen every type and size of part well before we've left our teens. There is no mystery any longer. And perhaps it is this mystery that I long for. The fact that imagination has been removed from our lives. I am not talking about the act of being imaginative, but that we do not have to use our brains any longer to conjure up the image of anything. I can imagine the sheer exhilaration that an explorer must have felt when he first came across a giraffe. And then, how to tell people about it. Before the photograph, a person hearing the story would have to conjure up an image for themselves.

Now we just look it up.

Of course, I am cognizant that perhaps I am looking at all of this through the tainted glasses of nostalgia for a time that I have never experienced. And this is true. But the inverse is also accurate. It is impossible to say that people long ago couldn’t be happier without all of the great stuff that we have. Well, you know miss what you’ve never heard of. Happiness’ scale depends solely on reference. Undoubtedly I would be a miserable person if I were transported from this time to the past where to get medical help I would need a leach, and I would be lucky to live to 50, or where to communicate with anyone more than 10 miles from me would take more than a day’s journey.

I in no way am planning on giving up all my creature comforts – I am aware of them so I can’t deal without them. There will be no hippie commune for me. But the question remains, are we better off with all of this? And I do not know the answer.

And yes, I am aware of the irony (à la Sideshow Bob) of using this technology to question it. :)

Monday, March 20, 2006


Got some terrible news on Friday night that has been clouding over me ever since. My older brother’s partner, who had dealt with breast cancer a few years ago, has just found out that it has spread to her spine, lungs and femur. This metastasizing of her breast cancer is definitely not good news. She got breast cancer when she was 30 the first time, and when you get it so young, it will often spread. But I had been hopeful.

Of course, I didn’t want to ask my brother what her chances were but when I looked on the net today, the five year survival rate is between 16% and 20%. Those are not the greatest odds around. And I am heartbroken for my brother. He and his girlfriend were high school sweethearts who got back together about four years ago and are an amazing couple together. In all, they have known each other for more than half of their lives. And she has a son from a previous relationship who, as a teenager, can’t be in a great place now. When you’re a teenager, you’re old enough to understand the reality but not old enough to have the tools to grasp the means to deal with it.

This is not the first time that breast cancer has been I my life. My last long term relationship to someone before my husband dealt with this. His father had breast cancer that eventually killed him. Yes, men can get it too. And for Bud, who I often believe loves Kylie Minogue more than me (I can deal with that!), has been talking about her condition frequently. And of course there is Bud's mother who is fighting cancer right now but who refuses to ever talk about it with Bud at all.

And this is one of those times when I feel the geographical distance from my family. I can’t just swing by and make sure my brother is alright. I can’t offer any real assistance from 3000km away. I know that I would still feel helpless if I were there, but at least I wouldn’t feel so useless to do anything.

I don’t know how my brother is going to get through this. He is easily the most intelligence person I have ever met – absolutely brilliant. But that level of intelligence doesn’t prepare you for dealing with these types of things. Both he and I are very similar in that our emotions don’t linger near the surface (a trait of our father’s) but they are tumultuous (a trait of our mother’s) nonetheless. I know that he will try to be strong, but there will be cracks. I just wish I could be there for him.

And God, to whom I have been indifferent, and of whom I am doubtful exists, for my brother and his girlfriend and also for Bud and his mother, I pray that you will spare them and let each of them get through this with as little pain as possible.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Bitch-Goddess Who Has a Hold on Me

Looking back over my last few entries, I can definitely see a streak of bitchiness in them all. But I do have a decent excuse. After many many years I have finally committed myself to quit smoking. Over the course of the past few months, I have reduced my intake from a pack a day to having one in the morning and one at night.

Well, it has now been a week since I ended even those few each day.

Its strange because there have been many other times that I tried to quit but failed. However, this time feels completely different and its due to the fact that I actually want to quit. The other times I was always thinking I should quit or was “encouraged” by Bud to quit. Having come to the conclusion that I want out of my relationship with tobacco has proven to be all the difference in the world.

But a lack of patience is incumbent with this experience and trying to lose weight at the same time as stopping smoking is no easy task. But I told myself I would quit before I was 25, then 26, then 27 , then 30 and so on and so on and so on. But I am getting no younger. And I don’t want it in my life any longer.

Here’s hoping that I can keep it up. One week down, a lifetime to go (and hopefully a longer one at that).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Woke up this morning to discover that my predictions of a spring were a little premature as a fresh blanket of snow covered the backyard. But it didn’t worry me. The one thing about March is that no matter what the weather may throw at you, you know that Spring is just around the corner.

Recently I have been thinking once again along the lines of old friends from days gone past ever since I wrote about my reunion. Its so strange how someone can be an intricate part of my life at one moment and suddenly a non-existent remnant of days gone by the next. Of course this will undoubtedly happen when people’s lives take divergent paths, whether geographically, emotionally, professionally or otherwise. But what this serves to highlight for me is the incredible strengths of those that survive all of that.

There are a number of people that I have known for more than a decade who I am forever bound by something greater than the bond between us. These are the people who no matter how much time may pass, once we are in a room together or on the phone, it seems as if we have not been separated at all. I have been lucky to have found these people in my life and I cherish these relationships above all.

But why is it that for some, once you are no longer there to watch the progressive changes in their lives and they in mine, slowly drift off into memory, while others remain a permanent fixture in this path I am on? It is a mystery to me. Sometimes I get together with people who I once knew intimately only to find that spark of recognition missing and all that is left is nostalgia. Why does this happen? I can’t really see any common link among the people who I still share that bond with nor among those who I do not.

The only interesting thing is that for all of my closest longest held friends I have absolutely no idea why we became so close and dear to one another. I cannot pinpoint a time or an event where they passed from acquaintance to friend to something more. I have hung out with many people, but why were these so special to me.

Yet further proof that while I think I may understand myself fairly well (warts, and there are many, and all) I really have no clue.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Cracks

Another weekend gone by and another joyful week of work all set to begin. God how I wish I were a trust fund baby.

On Friday afternoon I went by to visit one of my colleagues to see what he was up to on the weekend. Mike and I get together every now and then with Bud and his boyfriend Rick. I have known Mike for about four years and for the majority of that time he was single. It was always a running joke that he was the Asian welcoming committee of Montreal, but this past summer while he was in Calgary on business he met this guy Rick. Rick ended up moving her and since he is in computers, it wasn’t difficult to get a job.

But when he moved here, Rick moved in with Mike. Yes this may seem a bit crazy to move in with someone so soon after meeting them, but Bud and I pretty much did the same thing. So it can work. But on Friday, Mike was telling me that he and Rick were having problems. Part of it centered around the fact that Rick did not have any friends of his own here. And this led to the fact that Mike could never really be off on his own at all.

Now I feel mostly for Rick in this situation. Montreal is a very difficult place to meet people and even harder to meet people if you’re not looking for sex. The language barrier can be exceeding difficult. Even if you meet someone that speaks English (and there are plenty of people here, especially gay ones for some reason) who do not, the barrier still exists in things like humour. Humour is an incredibly difficult thing to learn in a new language, but is an essential element, in my opinion, in making friends.

And of course, once you are out of school, it can be even more difficult. So I understood where Rick was coming from, but I also understood that space is not a dirty word.

And of course, living with someone can be terrible at times. Some things that I put an importance on, Bud thinks are banal, and vice versa. So it is a constant ballet of compromise and change. And its not always an easy thing to do. But you learn not to sweat the small stuff and you learn to pick your battles – well that is if you want to stay together.

And Mike and Rick apparently didn’t have that drive. On Sunday morning, Bud and I took the dogs out for a walk at about 8 (obviously we had a wild and crazy Saturday night!) and we ran into Mike on the street on his way home from a night dancing away. And he was without Rick. I asked where he was, since I must admit that I was oblivious to the fact that things had gotten so bad, and the news was given.

And for the next several blocks, not a mention of this enormous event was made. We talked about everything else except the most significant thing. And why, you may ask? Hell if I know. Why do I sometimes drive on in conversations over the most painful things to people and at others retreat into safe zones of idiotic small-talk?

Friday, March 10, 2006


Just noticed that my hit counter went over 25,000 visits! That's crazy!

Have a great weekend.

Memory Road

Another Friday and finally the temperature has warmed up. Its supposed to be 9 C today so the snow should be getting to melting anytime now. The day that I am most looking forward to is that first day where there is the scent of spring in the air. I am not sure exactly what brings it out, but the aroma is distinctive and causes my spirits to soar.

The weekend I have a visitor. An old friend of mine from high school is coming into town tomorrow to see me. She lives in Calgary at the moment, but is working a lot out of Ottawa. So on Saturday she’ll be driving down to see me. We rarely, if ever, speak on the phone, and I think that the last time I saw her was in about 1997 or 1998. Its been ages!

But it got me thinking about high school a bit and the inevitable 20th high school reunion that will be coming up in a few short years. And I must admit that I am torn by that event. And its mainly as a result of my not coming out until I was in university.

In high school, I hung around with a bit of a wild crowd that was also not the brightest group of people on the planet. But we were friends for fun not for intellectual stimulation. After high school, most of them did not go to university and we eventually lost contact. I only really ever have any contact with Mel, whose coming here, and one other girlfriend who also lives in Ottawa. For the rest, its as if I now occupy a spin-off of a different series and there are no returning guest roles for sweeps-week in this show.

But there are many people that I would truly love to see again. But what for? I don’t exactly want to connect with them again so that we talk all the time. I don’t was to compare lives now? What I actually want is a People magazine Where are they now? synopsis of what has happened to them since they left the spectacle of my life. Who is fat and bald, who is happy and who is successful, and who has fallen on their face. It’s a little silly, but that is all I would want to take out of it.

But there is a price to be paid. I will have to deal with certain people whose reactions I can’t quite gauge at the moment. I have no doubt that everyone knows that I am gay now. I would be shocked if the reverse were true. But there are many people that I was very close to who I haven’t seen since that time. The girls don’t concern me, but the boys do.

And my desire to have a peak into the lives of these people requires that I allow them to look into mine.

And truth be told, what really is the point of this nostalgia. I can’t say that I truly care for any of them any longer. For many, I think that a reunion is a chance to go back and relive a little old glory. Well, my glory days don’t come from the teens. While I may be incredibly self-indulgent (and self-obsessed, of course), what would I expect from such a trip? And how would Bud deal with it? And how would my former friends deal with Bud?

It is the past. There are no loose ends to tie up. Sleeping dogs and all that…

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Been There Done That

I like to think that most times I have some sort of control over my life. And while external forces undoubtedly impact my existence and path, I am typically steered by my (good or bad) decisions. What I have been experiencing lately though disturbs me greatly over the enormous sense of lack of control that it causes.

I am speaking about that seemingly universal human experience of déjà vu. Most people on the planet have had a similar experience and the most common type of déjà vu is that you have already experienced something before. The latest time for me came the other night when Bud was reading a kid’s French book to work on his vocabulary. He asked me what a word meant and passed me the book. I was suddenly flooded with the feeling that we had had this conversation already, that I had seen the picture in the book before, that I had contemplated its meaning and that all this had happened while I was sitting in the same position on the couch and in same relative position to Bud.

When this happens my heart tends to seize up and I get an uncomfortable feeling almost like I have come unstuck in time. Its incredibly disconcerting. Of course, I am not able to pinpoint the moment when this happened before since this feeling is not one of recognition but of repetition.

And I hate it.

I am sure that there are a myriad of psychological or physiological explanations for this phenomenon and I am not about to speculate that it could be something paranormal (Matrix-like or otherwise), but whatever the theory that there is, I find it to be a disturbing psychologically traumatic moment. And it seems to come for me in waves. For long periods of time I won’t experience it at all, and then suddenly I’ll have a déjà vu moment a number of times in the same week.

This is sort of linked to another emotion that I get near stairs or railings. I always have this impression that someday I am going to oddly lose my balance going up some stairs (always up…) or walking by a railing and tip over it. Maybe its just the psychological backlash of being tall. But while this one is more of a pre-cognition type of emotion it doesn’t bother me. Can’t control the future. But the déjà vu experience where it seems like I am repeating things in the exact same way makes me feel almost like I have already experienced the future and have now gone back.

But this is all linked to time. Time has often been one of the most fascinating concepts to me. The correlation of time to speed interests me on an intellectual level. If time slows down the faster you travel (according to Einstein at least), then is time linked to the speed at which the Earth rotates at all, the speed at which we walk/run, the speed at which our hearts pump? To me time is probably to most interesting concept of physics that I can’t quite grasp and yet its impact on me is ever present.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Live Simpsons

The Simpsons - even when its a bad episode its still better than most of the crap out there.

And please Bring Back Futurama!!!

Monday, March 06, 2006


On a less angry note:

Thanks to Best Gay Blogs for their request for an interview - I appreciated the interest immensely.

Mother Fuckers!

Mother Fuckers!

I was sitting watching the Oscars last night and just before they announced the best picture, I got filled with a sense of pride. I was overwhelmed by the fact that a gay love story was about to win as best picture of the year. It was to be a watershed moment. And just before the announcement came I thought to myself, “they’re not going to do it.”

Bud had been saying it all night. He didn’t think they would. I didn’t agree. How could anyone not honour a film that basically won every other best picture award this year. No film that ever won the producer's guild, the director's guild and writer's guild awards in one year did not go on to win the best picture at the Oscars. It would just reek of homophobia. Crash wasnt even nominated for a Golden Globes for Chirst's sake. But Bud was right. And I was sickened by it.

Its sad that I have to turn to the Golden Globes for awards that accurately reflect the best. I was once enchanted by this award show, but it has definitely lost all relevance for me. And luckily I know where my anger should go. The people in this industry vote for these and so it is these people that I will punish. You want to treat me like a second-class citizen; you’ll get no respect from me. Piracy of movies makes all people who work in the movies lose money does it –I’ll never speak out about it. Box office is down this year – just wait until next. I won’t stop going (I’m not that idealistic) but I think that the best thing to do is never see a Hollywood film on opening weekend. “See it Second” I say. Make them wait. Buy a DVD? – I’ll put my money elsewhere.

A vote for Crash was not a vote for it to win, but a vote for Brokeback to lose. No other explanation possible no matter how hard someone may try. And it is a win saturated by irony.

It was ironic that George Cloney can talk about how it is good to be “out-of-touch” in respect of the Academy’s treatment of black people before this same group of people slaps in the face of all gay people out there.

It was ironic that Robert Altman was honoured for his work that never won the best picture award when a sub-standard Altman rip-off like Crash does win.
But it is the height of irony that in honouring a film about intolerance, this group of low-lifes can display the greatest level of intolerance possible.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Nobody Ever Died Wishing They'd Watched More TV

Yesterday at lunch a woman was killed in front of my office when a large flatbed truck sideswiped her and then ran over her with its rear wheels. This all happened in front of the busy office lunchtime crowd on the streets of Montreal, just below my window. And it has been haunting me ever since.

I am not haunted by seeing this accident (which could not have been very pleasant either) but it was one of those moments when mortality blows in your ear to remember that it is a bedfellow in this dream of life whether you remember it is there or not. This woman did not wake up yesterday morning thinking that this would be the final shower and breakfast that she would ever have. And the driver of that truck also didn’t wake up that morning thinking that he was going to take someone’s life that day. And he has ended up taking his own as well. From the reports, it appears that this was an accident and nothing more. The man is not going to a jail except for the one that will inevitably be constructed in his own mind.

The woman was a professional in her early thirties, so life was really just beginning. How many years had she sacrificed in pursuit of a goal that will never be reached? How many times did she put off that thrill of the here-and-now for the foundations of later security? How many days of sitting around doing nothing were spent saving for a vacation that will never come? How many items on her life’s “to-do” list will go without that checkmark. How many hours did she spend in a gym working on a body that will never show itself again? How many times did she skip the dessert to wear a smaller dress?

I was once told that a sign of maturity is the acceptance of delayed gratification. This is of course a part of the gradual understanding of what the future actually meant that I came to know as I grew older. I remember being a kid of about 12 thinking that when the year 2000 hit I would be 26…Old Old Old was all I could think. I wasn’t even able to imagine myself as a 26 year old person (and whatever I did imagine certainly was not what actually happened). And then when I originally graduated from university at 22, I continued working in a bar because it was fun and exciting. I gave no thought to the minimal opportunities that job held for the future. A bartender at 22 is fun; a bartender at 40 can be a bit depressing.

My moment of “delayed gratification” came when I decided that I needed some sort of career. This was a paradigm shift from my previous perspective on life and is a marker of a change in who I was. You lead one life if you believe (and can comprehend all that is involved) that you will live to be 100 and you lead quite a different one if you don’t plan on hitting that retirement age.

But we are all involved in this lottery. There is no escape from it. So we plan for a future that may never happen. We deny ourselves pleasure and enjoyment in the moment in pursuit of a dream that may never materialize. For we also see that without these steps and preparations, if the lottery gives us many years, our failures now to prepare will undeniably hurt later on. And so I gave in to it all. I have moved on from childhood, to adolescence, to adultescence, to adulthood. And it is scary. I don’t want to go through all of this for it to end before the payday. I don’t want to prepare for eight years to race in the Olympics only to disqualify myself in the first gate. I don’t want to lose.

But Mortality isn’t playing the game with me; he’s just keeping time.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


As a bit of a lighter moment and in honour of the Oscars coming up, I thought I would give my list of the actors and actresses that, while not the most famous around, I find to be consistently amazing no matter what they are in. They are usually the supporting players for the stars but are often shine brighter than any headliner.

Toni Collette

OK, I fell in love with her in Muriel’s Wedding and have always held a soft spot for her ever since. She has the ability whether in comedy or drama to evoke the most real sentiment in just a glance. Her ability to evoke emotion is second to none and at its best when showing that base human feeling of sadness. I’m not talking about the weeping sadness of tragedy, but the slowburn devastation of a life not quite up to what her character wishes.

Dan Hedaya

Known to many as Carla’s husband on the TV show Cheers, Dan has been in countless movies. Whenever I see his name in the credits I am assured that not all can be wrong with the film. He has the ability to be consumed by his characters that I forget that he is acting. For someone with such a distinctive look and voice this is a remarkable feat. The Internet Movie Database lists 109 different roles and in each one of them that I have seen (Clueless and the Usual Suspects being among my faves) he is a completely different person.

Patricia Clarkson

There is some sort of mysterious draw that redheaded women have that I find hard to resist and Patricia is no exception. But it is not only her physical allure that compels my interest in her but also the height of her craft. While I had probably seen her in numerous movies before, I first took note of her as Julianne Moore’s best friend in Far from Heaven. The moment that Moore reveals that she was actually in the presence of a black man, Patricia’s metamorphosis is remarkable. A slight change in visage that shocked me in its power of evocation and simplicity. Her turn as Ruth’s sister in Six Feet Under could only solidify my respect for her work.

Oliver Platt

Oliver’s a strange one for me in that what I most remember him from is being the non-famous person in Flatliners when I was younger. Since that time he has worked in both television and film, but he came back on my radar with his appearances on the West Wing. The only problem is that with the early writing on that show, anyone could look good. However it is his portrayal of a sleezy lawyer on Huff, a little seen but remarkable piece of television, that has put me in his corner. He plays a drug addict bastard with few redeeming characteristics (he sleeps with his best friend’s mother!) but something about Oliver makes you care about him nonetheless.

Maggie Smith

OK, Maggie Smith may be a star to many, but its not like she is going to open a film to box office records. But I have never seen Maggie do anything remotely wrong on screen. From her flighty school teacher in the Prime of Miss Jean Brodie to her role as a Hollywood actress with a gay husband in California Suite to her absolute brilliance in Gosford Park I love seeing Maggie on screen, any screen any time. And I recently caught a little cable movie called My House in Umbria where she solidified her reputation, in my books at least, as the finest actress out there today.

Jonathan Pryce

Jonathan first came to my attention when I watch Terry Gilliam’s oddly prescient Orwellian masterpiece Brazil (if you haven’t seen it in awhile I suggest you watch it again with post-9/11/Bush eyes and be amazed). Jonathan is an incredibly prolific actor who is typically in the supporting area rather than the lead like Brazil. And he plays the villain with as much panache as the hero. Automatically recognizable both in face and voice, he still manages to blend perfectly into character whether its in Pirates of the Caribbean, Madonna, I mean Eva Peron’s, husband in Evita or the Bond villain in Tomorrow Never Dies. But it will always be to Brazil for me – his portrayal of a man cocooned by the bureaucracy that eventually consumes his is an astonishing feat.

Kathy Bates

Is Kathy Bates ever bad in anything? Is any movie not made better just by her appearance in it? I ache for Ms. Bates to be in more films. Thankfully Misery put her on the Hollywood map so that we were not subjected to prettier and far less talented actresses taking parts away her over the past fifteen years. Her full physical exposure in About Schmidt stands as a highlight for me of an actress who can always surprise me.

And finally, I offer an off one. Yes, this guy may be a star, and is not exactly the best actor around, but he is skilled in that all important characteristics of being in really interesting movies. I am never exactly salivating at the thought of him in a movie, but he has nevertheless been in an inordinate number of films that I consider to be remarkable works. While his acting is never a highlight of any of the films that he is in, there is constantly something compelling about them.

Ah ...... Bruce Willis.

Look, I loved Moonlighting. The witty banter of the show always got me going. When I saw my first poster for Die Hard though, I laughed my ass off. “Ya right, Bruce Willis in an action movie.” Well, I ate those words. Great action movie.

Then came Twelve Monkeys (yes I apparently have a hard-on for Terry Gilliam, but even that couldn’t make me like The Brothers Grimm). Its one of those dark movies that play with perceptions of reality and doesn’t exactly end in all smiles and love. Easily one of my favourite movies of the nineties.

The Fifth Element is easily one of my all-time sci-fi tops-of-the-charts movies for me. Its one of those shows that if I ever come across it on the TV I find myself drawn in again. The good ole rule of sci-fi applies here (Sci-fi is either good or bad, when its good, its amazing. When its bad, its worse than anything else).

For me, The Sixth Sense can’t hold a candle to Unbreakable. And here is where Bruce actually makes a decent go at acting. He plays it understated when it could have so easily been over the top. The entire movie reminds me of a comic book in so many ways (yes, I was a childhood comic book geek) that every frame has a purpose.

And my last treat with Bruce was Sin City. Beautiful revolting movie, but down right thrilling.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Thank God its March.

February is always a really difficult month for me. The seemingly never-ending winter starts to take its toll on me as well as the months of lack of sunlight. While it is the shortest month, it is also the most difficult one for me to get through with a good disposition.

And this has been further complicated by my home. Bud and I moved into a new place last July that is the first floor of a duplex with someone else living on the second & third floors. The thing that attracted us to the house (apart from its stellar location) was its enormous yard. We are in the city and we are blessed with a yard that is as big as the floor space of our home.

Now while this was an amazing thing in the summer, and this year will probably be better since Bud spent the Fall planting bulbs for this spring, I am getting completely claustrophobic. There is just no place to get away at the moment. Cabin Fever is setting in and the past week or so of blisteringly freezing weather hasn’t helped. I just want to get out and feel the warmth of the sun on my cheeks rather than the icy blast of a winter wind.

But all bitching aside (but hey, who am I kidding, what would this blog be without my bitching about something here or there), I am slowly getting back into great shape. I have been strict with my diet (generally at least) and my routine of getting up in the morning to go to the gym has hit the level where I wake automatically before 6 on the weekends. Pants of two of my suits that I bought at my thinnest are starting to feel a little less constricted.

And part of my impetus for this is the Gay Games (or Outgames or Rendez-vous or whatever the hell they are called) that are going to be in Montreal this summer. I was at the Games in Sydney in 2002 and LOVED them. And I am so looking forward to their being here. Now Bud and I are not in an open relationship, but I do want to get back to my drool-instigating shape. I still love to flirt and the ego-stoke that comes with being pursued (I’m such a girl!).

Bud is working hard at it as well although he slept in today. He finished another French course yesterday so he ahs the day off. Here in Quebec, immigrants get five years worth of free French classes and so he is boning up on the language. I learnt my French basically through talking to people and reading the paper, so my grammar is not the greatest. But Bud is phenomenal with it. Its wonderful to see the progress that he has made. Learning a new language as an adult is never as simple as when someone is a kid so I feel enormous pride in him in making this effort.

And now back to the joys of the law…
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